We're not going to say that if it doesn't work in New York, it won't work elsewhere. So we'll just suggest that this Paris operation work hard not to underestimate labor or logistics and think seriously about pricing as well.
— Jason Clampet
Unbeknown to waiters shuffling plates and diners at L’Artiste, a typical Parisian brasserie in the artsy Pere Lachaise neighborhood, a foodie entrepreneur down the road is imagining a drastically different future for eating in the French capital.
Anton Soulier, one of food-delivery service Deliveroo’s early executives, helped launch the U.K. startup’s service in London, and moved to Paris to encourage locals to order restaurant-quality meals for delivery. His new startup Taster calls for no waiters or space for dining, but branded kitchens that supply take-outs to be transported by couriers from Deliveroo.
Taster is set to announce a $4 million fundraising from investors including Sunstone Capital of Denmark and Rocket Internet SE’s Global Founders Capital to expand Taster in Paris and launch in cities including London.
At Taster’s Pere Lachaise location, which used to be a small boxing club, a 430-square-foot kitchen hosts six cooks who, with military-like discipline, start from fresh raw ingredients to prepare recipes such as a Vietnamese bo bun and poke bowls in under three minutes. Taster’s kitchen ships out some 300 orders on a typical Sunday evening, to couriers who wait on the sidewalk.
“That’s the same size as what a brasserie on the Champs-Elysees pushes out, but we don’t have a lot of the fixed costs the brasserie has,” Soulier said. He’s planning to spend some of the fund on bulking up the company’s 8-person corporate team, which includes someone who was previously at McDonald’s Corp. research and development and a Vietnamese chef who has a restaurant in Paris’ Chinatown.
“Restaurants often don’t have the infrastructure for delivery — customers order in and they’re disappointed with how long it takes to prepare, with the packaging, or with how fresh the meal is,” Soulier added.
Taster opened its first location about a year ago in the French capital, and has since expanded to six, including one in Madrid, Spain. London is next, and the goal is to reach some 60 restaurants within two years.
Taster’s concept dovetails with Deliveroo recent launch of its field kitchens in London, allowing customers in new locations to order food from popular upscale restaurant chains. The kitchens are staffed with employees hired by the restaurants, lowering the risks and costs a restaurant traditionally had to undertake to enter a new neighborhood.
©2018 Bloomberg L.P.